News National Debt deal won’t boost transparency: Bowen

Debt deal won’t boost transparency: Bowen

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Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has dismissed suggestions a debt deal between the coalition and the Greens will increase transparency, saying the government should have to seek parliamentary approval for any increase.

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Greens leader Christine Milne have struck an agreement to scrap the $300 billion debt ceiling in return for a host of transparency measures.

If the changes are passed by the Senate on Thursday, the government will have to deliver a debt statement when borrowings increased by $50 billion.

The agreement also requires further debt reporting in the May budget and in other budget statements.

Senator Milne has been critical of what she said was a fake debate over the debt cap, which the government had wanted to increase to $500 billion, but Labor wanted to limit to $400 billion.

But Mr Bowen questioned how the new measures would improve the transparency over debt.

“More transparency is always welcome but the ultimate transparency is seeking parliamentary approval and having to answer questions,” Mr Bowen told the ABC.

To suggest that the new requirements would boost transparency “is a bit of a big call”, he said.